Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Eli Manning are all poised to break some long time Giant marks. Let’s take a minute to review their efforts this season.
Victor Cruz: All Giant fans remember the night Victor had against the Jets in the pre-season two seasons ago. Now, we have all seen rookies walk in and play great in pre-season, and then never be heard from again. Cruz almost seemed destined for that list as he came up injured in 2010, and missed most of the season. This pre-season he looked healthy, but did nothing special. He then got a chance on the first third down of the season in Washington….and dropped the ball. Not a great beginning, and through two weeks he had a total of two catches. Since that auspicious beginning, he has been nothing short of brilliant. Now Victor still drops the occasional ball, but he has become a main target for QB Eli Manning.
Cruz leads the team with 62 catches for 1,076 yards and 7 TD’s. He is 10th in receptions, but 4th in the league in yardage, just 16 behind Calvin Johnson and “the real” Steve Smith. The second year pro from UMASS is on pace to break Amani Toomer’s Giants single season record of 1,343 yards that was set in 2002. Cruz also has 5 -100 yard games this season, which is one shy of the franchise record set by Del Shofner in 1963.
Hakeem Nicks: While fighting injury since the beginning of the season, Hakeem Nicks has become both the deep threat, and the physical presence the Giants have needed. Nicks has 860 yards receiving this season and seems a shoe-in to reach a thousand for the campaign. The Giants are one of 4 teams (Houston, Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia) to have never had two receivers reach a thousand yards in one season. The tandem of Cruz and Nicks will serve this team well in the years to come.
Eli: The elite one is having his best season as a pro. Eli is on pace to set career highs and Giants season records in attempts, completions and yards. Eli is among a handful of QB’s, that in this new wide-open era of the NFL , have a chance to throw for 5,000 yards this season. Previously only Dan Marino (1984) and Drew Brees (2008) have accomplished the feat. Currently Eli has thrown for 3,705 yards on 442 pass attempts with 276 completions. Manning’s 6-300 yard games is already a Giants single season record, while Eli’s 20 career 300 yard games is one shy of Phil Simms franchise record.
The combination of Eli, Nicks, and Cruz will be a force to be reckoned with the remainder of this season, and into the future.